A Different Way to Pay for College


Journey Mou

Pictured above are some of the many companies that offer tuition reimbursement.

Journey Mou, Photojournalist

There are different ways of reducing the cost of college. Scholarships, grants, and loans are all viable methods. However, tuition reimbursement or tuition assistance is one of the lesser-known ways to cut down the amount of money to attend college. This is a benefit provided by companies to essentially help pay for college tuition. Most companies would offer this program because it is “often a win-win for both employers and employees” (University of the People).


Tuition reimbursement is a benefit, as it provides employees with a more cost-friendly way to return to school. A majority of the businesses that provide assistance for college offer it because the degree aids the job. 


One goal a company has when offering this program is to encourage staff members to learn more about a subject that correlates to the company. The amount of costs they cover also depends on the company. $5,250 is the limit for the amount the IRS (International Revenue Service) will allow for employee educational purposes. In order for the manager or boss to make sure they did not waste their money, some employers might base the amount of money they are paying on the grade one gets in a course. Sending someone to college is a big time and money investment on the company’s part so checking grades is something that is common in tuition assistance. 

The company benefits because they are hanging on to people who are willing to grow and develop within the company and won’t have a high turnover rate.”

— Ms. Waltemeyer

By sending employees to college, companies also benefit. Ms. Waltemeyer (S), the teacher for Yorba Linda High School’s Mustang Business Program pointed out the good that comes from a business offering tuition reimbursement, saying, “The company benefits because they are hanging on to people who are willing to grow and develop within the company and won’t have a high turnover rate.” Employees that have the opportunity to further educate themselves are less likely to leave the company. 


The reimbursement also appeals to the younger generation. Companies wish to have younger workers because they provide a different view coming from a different age group. They have knowledge of the latest trends and what might become a hit or appeal most to consumers. 


Guild Education and Bright Horizons EdAssist Solutions are organizations some companies partner with to maintain their reimbursement programs. Bright Horizons EdAssist Solutions is working with over 140 companies, providing employees assistance with college tuition (LendEDU). Guild Education was able to help 310,000 workers by partnering with companies, with the growth of the employees going up by 60% (TIME).


Here are some examples:


Amazon: After 90 days of employment, employees are able to participate in Amazon’s Career Choice opportunities. Said to be one of the best jobs that offer tuition reimbursement programs, Amazon covers full college tuition, including the cost of classes, books, and any other fees that may show up. Their program offers admission to hundreds of schools across 14 countries (Amazon).


Chick-fil-A: Chick-fil-A partnered with Scholarship America for their tuition assistance program and has awarded $75 million in scholarships to Team Members over the United States. The money goes toward discounts and scholarships at over 100 colleges and universities (Scholarship America).


Disney: Disney Aspire is the reimbursement program Disney and Guild Education offers for employees. It covers 100% of college tuition and book and fee expenses. This company also offers a range of different courses, from “skilled trades to master’s degree programs” (DisneyAspire).f After graduating with Disney Aspire, they offer access to the Disney Aspire Alumni Association. 


Starbucks: The tuition assistance Starbucks provides is for online programs at Arizona State University. Employees seeking a bachelor’s degree are able to get all tuition costs and fees (not including textbooks or laptops) reimbursed. Employees using this assistance are able to pick from 100 undergraduate degree programs.


Target: Partnering with Guild Education, Target offers employees debt-free undergraduate degrees and professional certifications from the moment they start their first day of work. Workers are able to choose from 250 programs that are all related to the business industry. Textbooks are covered and for master’s degrees, Target provides a direct payment of $10,000 each year and $5,250 for a degree that is not a master’s (A Bullseye View).


With many more companies offering college tuition assistance, Ms. Waltemeyer (S) stated, “The employees are benefiting because they get an education and they have the incentive to grow professionally and pursue certain goals within the company.” Tuition reimbursement is a benefit that creates a way for people to attend college at a more affordable rate. It provides a way to get a better education all while working to earn money (University of the People).